51% COVID deaths in India in people above 60: Centre
The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said that of all the coronavirus-related deaths in India, over half involved people above the age of 60 years. The Ministry also said that there has been a "steady decline" in the positivity rate in India, even though the cumulative number of confirmed cases has doubled since August 1. Here are more details.
According to the Ministry's data, till Tuesday morning, India had reported a total of 31,67,323 COVID-19 cases, including 58,390 deaths, 7,04,348 active cases, and 24,04,585 recoveries. Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan pointed out that the number of recoveries is over three times the number of active cases. He also noted that India's recovery rate has crossed 75%.
Bhushan said that of all the active cases in India, only 2.7% are on oxygen support. He said that 1.92% of active cases are being treated in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), while 0.29% are on ventilator support.
During the presser, it was also revealed that of all COVID-19 deaths in India, 69% of the victims were men, while 31% were women. An age-wise distribution of all COVID-19 fatalities in India is as follows: below 17 years (1%), aged 18-25 (1%), aged 26-44 (11%), aged 45-60 (36%), and above 60 years of age (51%).
Bhushan revealed that over 3.6 crore samples were tested for the virus in India till Tuesday. "There has been an exponential increase in the testing infrastructure which is leading to a rise in testing capacity," he said. ICMR Director-General Prof. Balram Bhargava said India's testing capacity has been raised from 10 daily tests on January 30 to one million daily tests on August 21.
Bhargava said, "With Indian start-ups coming forward, we have been able to deploy large numbers of indigenous kits...RT-PCR testing kits cost around Rs. 2,000 in March. Now, it is Rs. 300." He added, "Our testing strategy was to increase the number of tests and to make it available in areas where it's most required—Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, the Northeast—at affordable prices."
Further, while the number of tests has been increased exponentially, there has also been a steady decline in the positivity rate, Bhushan said. The positivity rate dipped from 9.10% on August 10 to 8.60% on August 25.